One for Ambulance Driver

Easily one of my favorite blogs is Ambulance Driver. His combination of humor, style, and quality of writing combine to make him the first blog I hit every morning.

Recently, he stirred the pot a little bit when talking about (another) medical condition that I had never heard of, fibromyalgia. Some stupid well meaning people mistook what he was saying as a criticism of people suffering from pain, when in fact (at least to me) it was a criticism of people who fake pain to get drugs, and people who use the ER as their primary care system. That reminded me of a story from my college days, which I thought he would appreciate. This one is for you, AD. Thanks for the laughs!

The spring that I, my wife, and our friends were scheduled to graduate from our college “adventure”, I was taking out the trash from the Future-Mrs. Ahab’s apartment. On my way to the dumpster, I happened across our friend, whom we’ll call Bob so as to save his dignity.

Hey Bob, what’s up?

Hey Ahab. I cut my hand, I think I need to go to the ED.

Bob was from West Virginia, and his dad is an ER doctor down there; apparently they don’t call them “Emergency Rooms”, those folks call them “Emergency Departments”, hence why he was constantly talking about ED.

Okay, I can drive you no problem. Let me finish taking out the trash, and I’ll get FMA (Future Mrs. Ahab…that takes too long to type). It would occur to me later that I possibly should have been more concerned about the significant amount of blood coming from his hand.

Sure thing, Ahab. I’ll just wait here. Now, Bob is a pretty calm guy – I’ve very rarely seen him get rattled about anything.

Once we had the whole caravan together, we proceeded to The City of Lafayette’s fine Emergency Facility. On the way, I asked Dan a question that lead to a running gag in our friendship that lasts to this day.

Hey,how exactly did you cut your hand like that?

Well…I dropped a knife. As it was falling, for some reason I tried to catch it, which I did. Pointy end first.

I started to laugh almost uncontrollably – these days whenever we see Bob, there is certainly going to be a reference to his skill at knife-catching.

So, we finally arrived at the ER, whereupon Bob, FMA, and I proceeded to sit in the waiting room and watch the most frightening and at the same time compelling group of humans parade through. Bear in mind that it’s about 1:30 in the AM; and yet the waiting room was never without some poor unwashed heathen awaiting treatment.

Counting waiting time, the whole process took about 2.5 hours. We waiting, they treated Bob (also, to whomever put those stitches in: consider a career change), he waited around for them to process his insurance, we waited some more, then we left. During the periods of waiting, we encountered (as best as I can recall) the following parade.

First up was the family, their daughter was somewhere in the 13-16 range…and rather noticeably preggers. In his infinite wisdom, her father had decided to forgo regular pre-natal care; instead choosing to visit the ER now because “She says she hurts down there”. After them, we had a fellow that arrived courtesy of the Lafayete Police Department; not really sure what his deal was since he was unconscious.

After a few nondescript folks (and one or two actual emergencies) came the cream of the crop, and also the fellow that provided the mental trigger for me to link this to AD’s blog. See, this guy was in pain, and he would gleefully expand on the horrible nature of his pain to anyone within earshot. Or, just to waiting room in general. FMA and I had a split decision, I was leaning towards scamming for a fix, she was leaning towards “basket case”. It never occurred to us that we could have both been right.

Mr. Pain proceeded to declare quite loudly that his “ass” hurt, it hurt too bad to sit on, so he would periodically get up and walk around the room, yelping about his ass. Imagine how a 6 year old acts after a good paddling, but make it a mid 40’s man smelling of Mad Dog and you’ve got the mental picture. His behavior continued for a while, until finally one of the nurses led him off somewhere, howling the whole way.

Shortly thereafter, Bob returned to us whole, albeit with the jankiest set of stitches I’ve ever laid eyes on. I never did find out what happened to Mr. Pain; however that night stuck with me sense.

That probably has more to do with the fact that my good friend tried to catch a falling knife (idiot) than the ER experience, but either way it was funny as hell.